"The Mechanics of Online Truck Contests" (In case chapters want to run their own)
The first thing I noticed was that pictures of trucks from all over the web didn't work. They had to have a hidden (or TECH) gallery all their own that someone in charge was keeping track of. This means a graphics savvy person to save and size them - then upload them to a chapter or personal gallery.
Second - they should be the same size, so that no one picture overwhelmed all the others. It was also desirable to limit size so that all the truck pictures could be shown at the start of a poll about them.
Okay so far?
I ran into just one headache with that - and it was that pictures uploaded to FTE galleries were renamed in a numerical format, so that a seperate text file had to be made that kept them all in order.
That file I built by grabbing the "FORUM CODES" for full size pictures I uploaded and saved in the order they came up on the thread people joined the contest(s) in.
SPACING those lines of code apart (usually a double space) made room for captions under each picture - so more could be added to the text file (which I simply used "NOTEPAD" to create).
Therefore more could be added, and updated as it went along. A question became: "How much information is too much?"
Also using the "BOLD" Vb code, as well as color assignment added a dimension to it.
What cooked my bacon was when I realised that IMAGES could be used in POLLS!!! That by itself was a milestone. It meant that a full sized list of images and what they were could be shown in the 'BODY' of a thread under a poll, but the poll choices themselves could be scaled down thumbnail images.
I recommend no more than 320 by 240 for the poll thumbnails.
The thumbnails I added to the same gallery that I put the sized and matched full size images in, and put them in that gallery in the same order.
The forum codes for each thumbnail went into a seperate area on the text file (above or below the main body) so that I knew what they were. you can mark each part by simply adding a line that reads:
"REM: MAIN BODY"
as a divider between parts.
Finally, I formatted the Vb code for any announcement that was needed such as: "HERE WE GO! THE POLL IS UNDERWAY.... (etc)"
When the whole works was ready, parts of it could be mouse highlighted, copied, and pasted wherever needed in the poll thread or whatever was going on at that point.
It is HIGHLY USEFUL/HELPFUL to test the final document in the "TEST" forum for accuracy. If everything flies right in there, you can see it before posting a poll.
POLLS are very unforgiving of mistakes...
I've had to request a few thread deletions along the way to getting all of this down.
But I see no reason CHAPTERS could not initiate their own "IN CHAPTER" online contests in just this way.
Just bear in mind this point: The maximum number of poll choices you can enable is TEN.
This can also be used for electing officials for your chapter if you want pictures of the people or their trucks that you are electing to various positions.
As galleries are becoming outmoded by the new "ALBUMS" concept, albums appear to be about the only place to upload pictures now, and there is at least one bug being worked out at this point that has to do with "Private" ~vs~ "Public" albums.
Images can also be used as the title of a poll. In place of a line of type - you can make an image (with or without adding lettering) with a graphics program, upload it to an album, and use that instead of plain old type.
I recommend that such images be no wider than 740 pixels because otherwise they run off the edge of the window in some browsers - causing the viewer to have to scroll left and right. (undesireable)
The albums have two restrictions on jpg files. Height and width dimensions, and file size.
The files can be no larger than 97.7K - larger files are cut down in size to fit. But a very large image can be a file of much less than 97.7K, so it balances out if you keep an eye on that constraint.